Tips on how to minimise the effects of jet lag

Fatigue is a symptom of jet lag. Picture: Ketut Subiyanto / Pexels

Fatigue is a symptom of jet lag. Picture: Ketut Subiyanto / Pexels

Published Apr 22, 2024


One thing that can temporarily disrupt an overseas holiday is jet lag.

Jet lag is a common phenomenon that many travellers experience when they fly across multiple time zones.

It occurs when your body's internal clock is out of sync with the new time zone you are in.

Plane travel makes jet lag worse because your body moves much faster than your brain and the body clock can process the time change.

Your body needs time to adjust to the new sleep and wake cycles at your destination.

People can experience jet lag in different ways and to varying degrees.

Symptoms include headaches, fatigue, insomnia, irritability, and difficulty concentrating.

Jet lag can cause fatigue and headaches. Picture: Sora Shimazaki / Pexels

Fortunately, several tips can help prevent jet lag or minimise its effects thereof.

Gradually adjust your sleep schedule

If possible, start adjusting your sleep schedule a few days before your trip by going to bed and waking up an hour earlier or later each day, depending on the direction of travel.

This can help ease the transition to the new time zone.

Stay hydrated

Dehydration can worsen jet lag symptoms, so make sure to drink plenty of water before, during, and after your flight.

Avoid caffeine and alcohol, as they can further dehydrate you.

Get sunlight exposure

Natural light helps regulate your body’s internal clock, so try to spend some time outdoors in the sunlight upon arrival at your destination.

This can help reset your internal clock and reduce jet lag naps (20-30 minutes) to help boost your energy levels.

Avoid taking long naps, as they can disrupt your sleep schedule and make it harder to adjust to the new time zone.

Stick to a routine

Try to stick to your normal daily routine as much as possible, including meal times, exercise, and bedtime.

This can help reinforce your body's internal clock and reduce the impact of jet lag.

Consider melatonin supplements

Melatonin is a hormone that helps regulate sleep, and taking a melatonin supplement before bedtime can help adjust your sleep-wake cycle to the new time zone.

Move around on the plane

Keeping your body moving during your flight may reduce jet lag symptoms. On especially long flights, try to move around the cabin when possible.


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